Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fixing UUism: All social justice activities whould be placed within a religous context.

Wint'ry Mix

Unlike many of the posters, I do see a role for social justice activity, as well as the pronouncements at GA and from the UUAWO. I see a double-standard in those who argue against these things. Why is it OK for conservative religious communities to make such stands, but not OK for UUs?

What I see lacking in our social justice activity and in the pronouncments from GA and the UUAWO is any kind of religous context for these activities. That's why they come off as representing pronouncments from a wing of the Democratic Party.

We should ask the social justice committee, or whatever similar body is active in each congregation, to cite a relgious grounding for each action it undertakes. It need to be a citation specifically from the Old or New Testament, although culturally that would be more powerful when speaking to the general public. We could equallly cite writings from the Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim traditions.

Each Study/Action Issue submitted for conisderation at GA should include similar religious grounding, and the study materials UUS sends around on each issue should include plentiful citations from mulitple tradations laying a religious foundation for the issue.

GA should institute a requirment that each Action of Immediate Witness submitted for consideration should be similarly grounded.

Any pronouncement from UUA headquarters or the UUAWO should include similar citiations. As trained religious prfessionals, the staff of these organizations should make a strong effort to use different citations as much as possible, rather than taking a shortcut and using the same citation repeatedly.


Chalicechick said...

I think this is a wonderful idea.

I'm not typically an admirer of the Catholic Church but I do admire that their political statements are very rare and that when they do make one it is solidly grounded in what Catholics believe and that is directly pointed out.


Kim said...

Citing a religious or values basis for any action we propose is a great idea. It's also what George Lakoff has been suggesting for progressive politics.
I don't necessarily feel we need to quote a book, though. It wouldn't hurt to do so, but I don't think it should be required, since we are not tied to the bible, koran, upanishads, or any other book. We do also have our Seven Principles to cite.

Philocrites said...

Quoting scripture isn't quite the right way to go, but the impulse is spot-on: A resolution should be a persuasive document, and realistically, the people it needs to persuade are reachable by us but haven't yet made up their minds. Because the UUA is a religious organization, it should argue out of our own religious tradition in a way that we find persuasive but especially in a way that actually is persuasive to others. Making our case theologically -- or, if that's not quite the right word, at least more religiously -- could help us a lot.

The United Church of Christ's resolution affirming gay marriage is a recent example of a liberal church resolution that makes its case in religious as well as secular language. See "In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All".

Chalicechick said...

Yeah, that was a great example of exactly what I have in mind.


Kim said...

What a great document!

Patrick Murfin said...

Count this old activist totally on board with this proposal. And act on broad principles, not on narrow, technical policy questions when we speak as a denomination (another word I get lashed for using.) Our congregations and social justice teams can then apply that broad principle. As a rule that application should avoid those narrow points except when that policy directly and egregiously offends our sense of justice—say state laws that permit the execution of mentally handicapped juveniles. (This is an example, not a pet hobby horse) It could go like this: “In general UUs oppose capital punishment because (your obvious and well researched moral grounding here), but we are standing before you in the particular case of 15-year-old Joey Simplemind, whose execution while legal is morally unjustifiable.”